03.Are these schemes worthwhile?
When it comes to booking flights, holidays, experiences or accommodation, most of us turn to the internet. So does booking a night at your chosen hotel as a member compete with shopping around online?
If an online search does turn up a cheaper room than what is being offered on the websites of some loyalty schemes, it could be worth bringing this to the attention of the program you’re a member of.
All the loyalty programs we looked at offer a “best rate guarantee”, however the terms and conditions under this policy vary between programs.
If you’re going to take advantage of the best rate guarantee offered by a loyalty program, most of the schemes, except Priority Club (which gives you until the date you check in to bring this to its attention), we’ve looked at require you to report the lower price you have seen within 24 hours of making a booking through the loyalty program’s site.
You’ll need to ensure that the third-party rates are for the same hotel, same dates, same room type, same sales conditions, and so on. Once your claim has been verified, SPG will offer you either 2000 Starpoints or a 10% discount on the lower price, Le Club will offer you 10% off the lower price, HHonors will match the lower price, Priority Club will offer you a free night’s stay and HotelClub will refund the difference.
With so many variables between each scheme, determining whether they’re really worth it is tricky. You’ll need to assess your own circumstances and the benefits you can derive from such programs before signing up.